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In 2014 Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was freed from captivity to the relief of his supporters in Idaho. But another tide turned: those who had waited for this day found themselves caught in political crossfire and lacking the broad support they had leaned on when he had been a P.O.W. Northwest News Network told the story of Hailey, Idaho and Bergdahl's family before and after his release in 2014.

'Awareness' No Longer The Issue For Bergdahl’s Supporters

Courtesy of Buster Hickam
Groups across the country distributed stickers, patches, armbands and other items to get Bowe Bergdahl’s name out during his captivity. ";

The parents of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl issued a statement through social media Monday. Bob and Jani Bergdahl thanked the people who have supported them for nearly five years as they waited for their son to be freed from Taliban captivity.

Bergdahl's online supporters continue to back the POW amidst a raging debate about whether he deserted.

Michael Geer was just 13 when he heard about Bowe Bergdahl. The teen from southern California launched a social media campaign in 2012 to raise awareness about the POW.

Last week, Geer's father took to Facebook to say he is disgusted by the barrage of negative comments on his son’s page.

And they're not the only people who have very quickly gone from trying to get Bergdahl's name in the news to defending him.

Buster Hickam is a member of a Georgia chapter of Rolling Thunder, a POW-MIA awareness group. Hickam has distributed about a quarter of a million Bowe Bergdahl arm bands since 2010.

"Did we know the information that we have today? Yes, most certainly," Hickam says. "None of the things the people are saying today is a surprise."

Hickam, a retired Army first sergeant, says he will continue his support until the Army determines Bergdahl committed a crime.

Over the weekend, reports surfaced that the FBI was looking into death threats against the Bergdahls. Hickam says those aren't the first threats Bergdahl's parents have received during their son’s captivity.

Statement issued on behalf of Bob and Jani Bergdahl:

They would like to thank each and every Facebook supporter and friend for their prayers and kindness during not only the past 10 days but for the past 5 years. It has meant the World to them. They ask that their privacy is respected as they continue on this new path with Bowe. They apologize for not being able to return each phone call, text, message, and email but please know they are very grateful for the love they are receiving from all of you.